Homily for Pentecost Sunday
After my two weeks of isolation, I made my way out of the grocery store. As I made my way to my car, a man with his mask on said to me, hey “how ya doing young fella?”
I responded with, “I’m good, how are you?”
He began, “It’s sure been awhile since I’ve seen you… are you working?”
I replied, “I’m back this weekend… thank God…. And you, I hope you’re keeping well?”
He continued, “oh, you know, the usual aces and pains… but at least I haven’t had that covid… nor do I want it.”
I responded: “Good for and we don’t want you to get it. By the way, How is Joyce doing?”
He looks at me with concern as I put my bags in the car, “Joyce? Who is that?”
Me: “You’re wife?”
He responds: “My wife’s name is Barb… by the way… are you Stewart?” Laughing I said, “no… and I bet you’re not Rick.”
We both laughed…
‘with these masks we don’t know who we are talking to,” he said. “Regardless,” I responded, “we made each other laugh and we have a good story to tell our friends…”
As humans, we are more connected than what we think… the pandemic has shown us that. These masks that we dread was a ‘connector’ for me and that gentleman and it made us laugh. Although I share this story with you, hopefully to make you laugh and yet to show how sometimes those things that we dread the most (masks) are the things that can really connect us.
And yet, the ultimate connector of course is the Holy Spirit.
In the Gospel for today we are taken back to the evening of Easter Sunday, we see the disciples hiding in fear behind locked doors, separated from others.
Jesus comes to them and his presence breaks their disconnection from him and from all their brothers and sisters. His very presenceis connection. His presence is love, compassion mercy and forgiveness. And he breathes the Spirit into them enabling them to share this presence, to be this presence, to be this mercy, this re-connection with God. The same happens for us. In Baptism and Confirmation the Spirit comes to us, connecting us to God in an intimately and infinitely new way. As we grow, we are drawn into this great mystery of love between Jesus and God the Father, we are being connected anew with all humanity in compassion and solidarity.
Pentecost is often referred to as the birthday of the church. This is because the gift of the Spirit is the foundation, the ground of the two great facets of Christian life: again, love and compassion. Because we are connected with Jesus’s own prayer to God, we are caught up in his loving and joyful love of God… a love that is to be shared, just as those first followers of Jesus did.
And we are called to share, to share with others, our brothers and sisters, in the rich diversity of their experiences. We want to be with those who are rejoicing, or grieving, or lost, or in despair; wherever they are or however they are, to stand with them in love and compassion. It is the Holy Spirit who makes connections real in our lives.
Today we receive our Accountability Report… a look at the Holy Spirit at work in our own community and how that work is extended beyond our borders. Perhaps we should call it “Spirit Work,” examples of love and compassion in action. Through a particular ‘need’ or ‘desire’ and in the Spirit of ‘love’ and ‘compassion’ you will see how our parish have addressed some of them. The ministries within this document are just one aspect of our parish, revealing our connection to one another and to God. You have opened your hearts and minds and allowed the Holy Spirit move you with love and compassion, regardless of our current climate of limitations.
On Pentecost we celebrate the power of God who makes connections, connecting us to God the Father through Jesus, connecting us to the world of diverse and sometimes difficult or horrific human experiences, connecting us to our deepest and truest selves, connecting us to those less attractive parts of ourselves that we may want to ignore or deny.
But the Spirit of connection is the one that can heal us. We then become more healed as persons, as families, and as communities, and more driven to love the God of our Lord Jesus Christ and to stand connected with one another. Happy Feast Day, everyone!